vixalle21 asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

I am doing my family tree...??

And I have gotten as far as my great-great grandfather on my dad's side. I have found most of his info in ancestry.com and other sites BUT i would like to go further back and find out his parents names (my great great great grandparents) back in the 1820's or so. I dont know enough info to request a birth certificate from the P.R. municipality but dont know what else to do... my living family members dont know much, and we are not sure if my great great great grandparents are from Spain or Germany or what (different family members say different things). Is anyone else out there also doing a family tree that can suggest other ways for me to find the info from soooo long ago? I'm even willing to pay a company to find the info for me. I just dont know where else to look. Ive looked at immigration records, social security databases, etc. help?

Update:

Boris T:

My great great grandfathers last name was Tollens. It doesnt really sound German or SPanish...So it could be any origin! Thats what's confusing me. I did see a picture of him and he was fully fluent in Spanish, but had a skinny nose with blond hair and blue eyes...now i was talking to OLD family members and they're telling me he came from the Canary Islands... sigh.

I'm getting a lot of great answers that are helping me out a lot, thanks everyone

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  • cwomo
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Congrats on what you've done to date. A big help would be finding someone else who is researching the same tree or least part of it. If you belong to Ancestry.com then you have one of the best resource available but I supplement that with Genealogy.com. Genealogy.com has material that the other doesn't and vice versa. Post messages on both's forums to see if you get any responses. You need to look at where they lived in the U.S. and see what information is available through state, county and city historical societies. Perhaps someone has authored a book that covers your surname or there is a book that covers your surname within a particular state. Also, there could be a national/worldwide organization that covers one or more of your ancestrial surnames. When I am doing research my daily goal is to add at least one new verified fact - it doesn't matter if its only a middle initial at least I've found one more fact that I didn't know before. Old land records, wills, censuses, church records,available marriage records, Civil War, War of 1812 and Revolutionary War rosters are great resources. I found records of one of my ancestors selling supplies to the American Army during the revolution. You are limited only by your imagination in things and ways to research. Also, when you find an ancestor name in a census look at who the neighbors were and check a few pages back and forward for anyone else with your ancestors surname - could be a cousin, brother, etc. I also recommend that you check with Family Tree to see if your surname is among the various groups involved in DNA testing. The testing is not only national but international as well. DNA testing cannot give you names but it can you probability of relationship and expose you to others who are searching the same tree. In regards to hiring a Genealogist to research your tree - you must use caution. There are those that will simply take your names and blend then into an incorrect tree and even provide documentation. The field is pretty much clear of that type of individual but some still exist. Even posting your ancestors names, locations and dates on this site will draw a lot of interest and help. Almost all of us that are involved in Genealogy love a challenge and helping others for free. .

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  • 1 decade ago

    My thinking goes a bit different direction from others... because of the fact that I started researching BEFORE there was an internet to work with. I won't deny how much there IS.. but it can be a roadblock to believe that it is the ONLY way to do research.

    When you hit a road block on sites that use submitted trees, what it indicates is that YOU are the person who needs to do more "original" research. And that often means offline.

    Since birth certificates are a relatively recent document, the next step is understanding what else there might be. There MIGHT be a Bible record.. the person that has that, may not be online. My mother in law is an example..she has many records, but she is computer illiterate.

    There are PUBLISHED books (ie county histories) out there, which have tons of info.. but you have to dig up the real book. You might find the catalog for a library in that area which is online, but most people dont think of libraries as a pure genelaogy site.

    I happen to love land records. When you find that a distinct parcel of land was owned by John Smith, and later owned by James Smith, it is likely you have a father/son relationship. You can also connect other families, by looking at who witnessed deeds, or other court records. By the way, you do not have to travel to a place to get land records.. they are microfilmed by the LDS church, in most instances, and you can get the film on loan for a small fee. Of course.. if you CAN travel to a place, all the better.

    As for family members saying different things.. that is standard procedure. They are relying on oral history, perhaps or guessing. The whole point of genealogical research is to shift to a reliable document, instead of memory.

    Keep posting. Give us a name and place and approximate time, and someone might have a better lead for you.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Back then I am not sure if birth certificates were issued. One source could be church records particularly if they were of a faith that practice infant baptism. If your great great grandfather was born in the U.S. and baptised, obtaining a copy of his baptismal record will probably give you the parents name. Actually for Catholics they have that information in the Confirmation Records also.

    Now the genealogies you see on any web site you have to be very careful with. Most of the information is not documented and even if you see the same information over and over by different subscribers, there is a lot of copying going on. The information should be seen as clues not as absolute fact.

    Now I have a friend of Italian descent has found a lot of information on her family at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well after a certian time period you will not find birth certificates. Try find a will (probate) for your great-great grandfather. You can also use Land Records,Military Records, Funeral records,Census reports, Cemetery listings,Family bibles,Church Records, Baptisms,Christenings. It takes patience to locate lost links I've been at my family history for 15 years and there are times I want to pull my hair out but someone or something comes along with just the little piece of information I need or a new pair of fresh ideas and it knocks the wall down,don't give up it's totally worth it.Good luck in your search.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have ran into the same problem with my father's side of the family tree. I have found most of info on ancestry.com by searching census, old newspaper clipping. I have found most of my information from the message board posting on ancestry.com. You got to remember way back them everyone had a lot of kids. So when you do these searches also search from some of the kids names.

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  • 1 decade ago

    well, spain and germany are 2 completely countries

    first of all, germans typically have shorter mouths, more fuller faces, blue, green, or brown eyes, brown or blonde hair, and different shades of the colors, they also tend to have less pointed noses. and they have a peach to fair skin.

    spanish on the other hand, have longer mouths, brown, hazel or green eyes. typically, they have hair ranging from light brown to an almost black. and they can have a peach, to an olive skin. men usually have more larger noses, and women have more pointed noses.

    but make sure you look at the last names. german last names tend to be shorter, on the average, 2 syllables, and von and van are common ways to start a last name. Alt, zeit, schlaff are fairly common elements of a german name.

    Spanish last names are simular to italian last names. usually they are longer, and use a greater amount of vowels, verses german(even though slavic languages use the most consonents.)

    but to find your family, once you find out the countries, try to find out the region of the country they yeild from, and try to do some research on the residents. you can usually contact the mayor.

    Source(s): studying cultures, and anthropology, and my uncles research on the families history in italy
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  • 1 decade ago

    Wow. I usually use Ancestry.com and that gets me back to the early 1700s on all sides of my family. Have you also tried Rootsweb.com? I also found a lot of info in old family Bibles and old family photos. Census records have been the most helpful for me to trace back names I didn't know... I think the best thing is to pay for the premium membership to Ancestry.com and search like crazy...They have the best info from what I have found. Good luck!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm doing my genealogy also, and I've found that the website familysearch.org is very helpful. It's run by the Latter-Day Saints in Utah, but most of their records are online. Hope this helps!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Different family members usually say different things because they are talking about different people. It is really confusing unless you organize it all.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    PR - Puerto Rico? I don't know other than familysearch.org may have something. Perhaps try to learn what church they were affiliated with.

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